The Camaro was first launched in late September 1966. Like its rival Mustang, it offered a host of options for maximum buyer appeal.
The L35 396ci V-8 was a late edition, not added to the options list until November 1966. An even more powerful L78 396 with 375 horsepower later became available. Both these engines were based on the Mark IV “porcupine” big-block, named because of the pointy angle of its valves when the covers were removed.
According to official Chevrolet records, a total of 34,411 Camaros were outfitted with the SS package for 1967.
Top up or top down, the original Camaro looks great. The car’s smooth, coke-bottle styling was such a hit that rival Ford employed a very similar design for the European Mark III Cortina sedan, and even Aston Martin adopted cues for its 1970s V-8 super car.
A very popular option package on early Camaros was Regular Production Option Z22, the Rally Sport package, which included a special grille that housed the headlights behind retractable covers. A total of 10,675 convertibles were ordered with the RS option for model year 1967, out of a total of 25,141 built.
These rally wheels were similar in design to those featured on 1967 Corvettes, but were a different size – 14 inches in diameter instead of 15 – though width was the same. They were only available with front disc brakes. Tires are reproduction Firestone D70-14 Wide Ovals.
RS-equipped cars also received different rear taillight lenses, with the back up lights relocated to the lower valance. This car also features the optional rear bumper overrider guards (RPO V32).
Compared to many surviving SS Camaros, the interior of our 1967 sample car is a little on the unusual side. There’s no tachometer or central console, just a basic AM radio and a column shifter for the automatic transmission.
From any angle, the 1967 RS/SS ragtop looks just as cool today as it when new. Styling was done under the direction of Chevrolet division Styling Chief Irv Rybicki and GM VP of Design William L. Mitchell. Despite the car’s clean lines, Mitchell wasn’t too fond of the finished product.
Part of the SS package was this “power bulge” hood with twin non-functional extractors. A similar design was employed on SS-equipped cars for 1968.
Power windows were available for 1967, but our sample car features manual cranks. The lower mounted cranks are actually levers for the door release mechanism.
“396 Turbo Jet” twin flag logos pay homage to the contemporary Corvette, even though 1967 big-block Sting Rays were sporting 427, not 396, cube engines.
Dual circuit braking was a major selling point of the Camaro back in 1967. Power assistance was available as an option and is fitted to our sample car.
Many convertibles, classic or otherwise, often look awkward with the top up. The 1967 Camaro is one of a handful that doesn’t. This picture also shows the car’s “coke bottle” flanks.
Vent wing front windows looked out of step with such fluid, modern styling. They would disappear from Camaros completely for 1968 as the cars adopted GM’s new Astro Ventilation flow-through circulation system.
The Speedometer reads up to 120 mph. A few years later, a nationwide 55 mph speed limit would be imposed, and the dials on nearly all cars sold in the US would max out at a paltry 85 mph.
Camaros came as a coupe or convertible. Note the full-size spare tire and lack of carpeting.
This shows the lack of a console to good effect. Also note the low-back bucket seats. This was the only year of Camaro to receive them – changing federal regulations soon mandated high-backed seats.
All 1967 Camaros were built at the Norwood, Ohio, or Van Nuys, California assembly plants. Norwood rolled out its last Camaro in 1987 and was shut down. Van Nuys closed in 1992.
Single rear leaf springs were a major Achilles’ heel on 1967 Camaros, especially those with high performance engines, since wheel hop was a major problem. As a result, many owners installed beefy aftermarket traction bars. For 1968, Chevy fitted stouter multi-leaf rear springs.
1967 Chevrolet Camaro RS/SS 396
Length: 184.7 in.
Width: 72.5 in.
Wheelbase: 108.1 in.
Track (front): 59.0 in.
Track (rear): 58.9 in.
Weight: 3370 lbs.
Construction: Cast-iron block and heads
Valvetrain: OHV, single camshaft, two valves per cylinder
Fuel system: GM Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor
Bore & Stroke: 4.09 x 3.76-in
Compression ratio: 11.0:1
Displacement: 396 ci (6.5-litres)
Ignition system: GM Delco dual-point
Max Power: 375 hp @ 5600 rpm
Max Torque: 415 lb-ft @ 3600 rpm
GM Turbo Hydramatic TH400
Unibody-two door steel convertible with separate front subframe
Front: Independent short/long arm with coil springs, shocks and anti-roll bar
Rear: Solid rear axle with dual shocks, traction bar and single leaf springs
14 x 7-inch pressed steel
D-70 x 14 bias-ply
0-60 mph: 8.0 sec.
Quarter mile: 15.4 @ 90 mph
60-0 mph braking: 156 ft.
*Refers to L78 solid lifter engine (not L35)
** Test of SS 350 (Motor Trend, December 1966)